The days of swinging clubs, rifle-butts or bastard swords at each others heads are long over. At least in the Lands of Western Suburbia. Now-a-days the closest thing you get to a “real man” is the middle-aged suburbanite who (probably while drinking beer and eating corn-syrup enriched nacho’s with his buddies) pledges in a platonic, yet semi-homo-erotic way, his manliness through his partaking in the next local upcoming Extreme Sporting Event.

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3 weeks of training and energy drinks later he is running through an obstacle-course of mud, water and low amperage electric wires under the watchful eye of trained medical professionals. He gets a T-shirt and some platonic, yet semi-homo-erotic, slaps on his butt and heads back to his comfortable. air-conditioned home and life to fatten back up.

“This Insane 120-Mile Speedskating Race Makes the Winter Olympics Look Easy” – Justin Peters (Slate Magazine)

Bitch Please! But there is a place where “real men” still thrive. “Real men” who don’t train…just do! And that place is Friesland.

When the weather conditions are perfect and the temperature falls to below freezing for at least two weeks, the wind lies low and there is no precipitation or frost, comes the truest of all test of manliness. The call will come in the midnight hours without warning. You grab you skates, some extra socks and hope that you can sober up at the starting gate.

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No energy bars and power drinks here;  just pea-soup, a cigarette and a big mouthful of “fuck-It!” It happens when it happens; and it might never happen in your lifetime. But if it does you had better be ready to man-up.

Deep respect to the Iron Man, Spartan Runners, Bad Mudders… But you are basically kind of pussies! It’s not that you aren’t tough guys. It’s just that you aren’t “really” tough guys.

There is but one place where real men (and a few tough bitches) still dwell.

The Eleven City 125 mile tour of hell known as the Elfstedentocht. I suggest you stay away.